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1875 - 1937

Trois beaux oiseux du Paradis (1914)

an arrangement by Mark Starr for flute solo and string orchestra
of Ravel's chanson for mixed chorus a capella

link to biography of Maurice Ravel

A demo recording of this arrangement -- realized with digital musical sounds -- will begin to play automatically upon opening this page.  If you do not wish listen to it, please click on the STOP button (or the PAUSE button) on the media player, below. You may wish to adjust the volume on your computer to a more comfortable level.



This transcription for flute and string orchestra is an arrangement of a little-known chanson that Ravel composed for mixed chorus, a cappella. It is one of the most moving moments in all of music.

Ravel wrote the words for this brief song, as well as the music. In his poem, a young girl describes three birds-of-paradise.

The first bird-of-paradise is blue - more blue than the sky.



The second bird-of-paradise is white - the color of snow.


The third bird-of-paradise is red - a shade of crimson (the color of blood.)



Ravel wrote the poem and the music in 1914, the first year of what is still referred to in France as The Great War. Civilization was crumbling around Ravel, and the very existence of his homeland was threatened. Of course, the three birds-of-paradise represent France.

The song is strophic, in three refrains and a short coda. Each refrain presents a bird-of-paradise; and in the coda, the young girl is told: 'Your beloved has gone off to war.'


The full score of Mark Starr's arrangement of this work is available for perusal, audition, purchase, downloading and printing on the website www.sibeliusmusic.com. Here is a link to the score:




In addition to the full score, Mr. Starr has made a reduction of his arrangement folr flute and piano.  This reduction is also available on www.sibeliusmusic.com for perusal, audition, purchase, downloading and printing.  Available with the flute/piano reduction is a separate part for flute.  Here is a link to the reduction for flute and piano: